The Cavaliers are off to a 3-2 start through the first five games of the regular season. Let’s take a look at what has transpired through the first ten days.
Cavs take down Kyrie
The Cavaliers were able to defeat former teammate Kyrie Irving and his new Boston Celtics teammates 102-99 on opening night. It was a nightmare opener for the Celtics as new star player Gordon Hayward suffered a horrific leg injury and was lost for the season. Cavaliers fans showered Irving with boos but the reception was very mild compared to what Lebron James encountered in his return to Cleveland. Irving was greeted with hugs and handshakes by former Cavaliers teammates after the game.
Lackluster performances against lesser teams
The Cavaliers struggled in three games against teams projected to be in the NBA Lottery. They suffered a blowout loss at home to the Orlando Magic, had a close comeback win over Chicago and a road loss to the Brooklyn Nets who were missing DeAngelo Russell. Of course the latter was a double whammy considering the Cavs own Brooklyn’s 2018 first round draft pick. In each of these games the Cavs opponents killed them from three point range. The Magic, Bulls and Nets combined to make 51-114 from three point range with each team hitting 17. Most of these shots came uncontested. The Cavs defense has not been anywhere near where it needs to be and the effort must pickup when playing the less talented teams.
Wade and Rose already sidelined
It’s only five games into the season and Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose have already missed time with injuries. The main concern in adding both of these players was their durability. Rose suffered a sprained ankle in game two against Milwaukee while Wade banged knee’s with a former teammate against the Bulls and suffered a bruised knee. While neither injury is serious it has to be a bit of a concern that both have suffered injuries not even two weeks into the regular season.
Eric Bledsoe rumors
Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe has asked for a trade and the Suns are in the process of accommodating his request. Bledsoe happens to be a very good friend of Lebron James and they also share the same agent in Rich Paul. Needless to say Bledsoe has been linked to the Cavaliers. There is a rumor that Cleveland offered Iman Shumpert and a future 1st round pick for Bledsoe but were rebuffed by the Suns. The Suns reportedly seek the coveted Brooklyn Nets 2018 pick acquired by Cleveland from the Boston Celtics. Today Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon reported the Cavaliers are not in on Bledsoe and have no intention of acquiring him.
Lineup changes galore
When the Cavaliers take the floor for game number six on Saturday vs The Pelicans they will trot out their fourth different starting lineup this season. Today coach Tyronn Lue announced that Tristan Thompson will remain in the starting lineup for the immediate future. The new lineup is Derrick Rose, J.R. Smith, Lebron James, Kevin Love and Thompson. Jae Crowder will join Dwyane Wade with the second unit. Wade flourished running the second unit vs Chicago being the primary ball handler. Lue continues to tinker with the lineup and rotation until he finds the best role for each player.
Jeff Green flourishing
One of the big bright spots early on has been the play of Jeff Green off of the bench. In the first five games Green is averaging 11.4 points while shooting 48% from the floor. He has provided a nice scoring punch with the second unit. Green has also played some solid defense as he has defended both the wing and the post thus far.
“The King” still rules the court
Lebron James is off to an amazing start to the 2017/2018 season. In the five games he is averaging 27.6 points, 9 assists and 7.4 rebounds. An off-season elbow injury forced James to alter his jump shot bringing his elbow in and raising his release point. So far it appears the change has been for the batter as he is shooting 61% from the field including 45% from three point range. Granted this is a small sample size but it is a good sign none the less especially considering he is playing on a left ankle that is still not 100%.